Do your kids LOVE to watch movies?
Is there ONE movie that they have memorized (which means you do too)?
Pull out a few things, paper, crayons, scissors, etc. and make the movie characters. Depending on the age of your child, they may need a little help, but be sure to NOT tell them HOW to make it. Let them go for it. It's important for children to have a chance to experiment with creativity. Often times a child wants a "model" project to copy. Resist the tempation to tell or show them exactly what to make. (If you draw a flower with five petals, watch, your child will draw a flower exactly the same way as you.) As they create on their own, and then you praise them for it, their self confidence and creative abilities will grow. If your child is an age where you can't leave the whole thing up to them, make sure to be careful to back off whenever possible, and encourage them trying new things.
This can also be a great time to introduce things they haven't used before: glue sticks, goopy Elmer's Glue, your scrapbooking sticky squares, glitter, stickers, pompoms, pipe cleaners, paint, brads....the possibilities are endless.
The funnest part is seeing them play with those toys over and over again. So what if you can't afford a $29.99 Woody at WalMart, have your child make one.... He or She will love it probably more than the real doll.
Over several weeks time, my son has now made the ENTIRE cast of Finding Nemo and Wall-E. (Yes, including Nemo's Mom and the Anemone.) He loves to reinact scenes with his handmade toys, and it also means he's happy with a little less movie time.
Here are a few of our Nemo cast members:
Bruce: I drew part of the tail and fin for him, then he practiced cutting along the lines the best he knew how.
Nemo: He used a gluestick all on his own for the first time to put on the white stripes that I'd pre-cut for him. We also introduced brads for the fins. That was a cool novelty for a little boy, now the fins can move.
Dory: Awesome fins...Joshua just went for it and got some scissor practice
So, be brave, pull out some creativity to match your child's movie obsession. The most simple homemade toy can bring more joy than you imagined! When it's the child who makes that toy, the self fulfillment and joy is multiplied a bazillion times.